Poussin, Nicolas



Poussin, Nicolas

Nicolas Poussin was a French painter, who was the founder and greatest practitioner of 17th-century French classical oil painting. His work symbolizes the virtues of logic, order, and clarity, and it has influenced the course of French art up to the present day.

Nicolas Poussin studied painting in Paris and in 1624 he went to Rome, where, except for an 18-month sojourn in Paris from 1640 to 1642, he lived for the rest of his life. Poussin's early paintings in Rome reflects the crowded compositions and animated surfaces of mid-16th century Mannerism. About 1630 his style began to change as he drew away from the emerging exuberant baroque style and devoted himself entirely to his passion for the antique, concentrating on biblical and mythological subjects.

Poussin's belief that art should appeal to the mind rather than to the eye-that it should present the most noble and serious human situations in an orderly manner devoid of trivial detail or sensuous allure-became the basis of the French academic style of the 17th century. Until the 20th century he remained the dominant inspiration of such classically oriented artists as Jacques-Louis David, Jean-August-Dominique Ingres, and Paul C?zanne. Nicolas Poussin died in Rome on November 19, 1665.

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